I’m Christina Bellantoni, today's Essential Politics host.
Everyone had a little something to smile about on Super Tuesday.
Donald Trump’s victories and march toward the nomination was the night’s biggest headline. Hillary Clinton notched dramatic wins, and Sen. Bernie Sanders captured four states with a pledge to soldier on.
Sen. Ted Cruz banked a Texas-sized win in his home state and was on track to win more votes than Trump and Sen. Marco Rubio combined in the Lone Star State. But he also earned some legitimacy by winning neighboring Oklahoma as well as Alaska.
Rubio captured voters in the suburbs of large cities, and managed his first win in Minnesota’s caucuses. He was leading Cruz by nearly 10,000 votes and Trump by almost 20,000 with most of the precincts reporting.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich framed a close contest in Vermont as a harbinger of good things to come from Midwestern contests and when his home state votes March 15. And retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson earned three delegates in Virginia.
As Noah Bierman wrote in our takeaways from the night, "It’s not over, but it’s getting there."
One thing is clear — Trump will have a long-lasting effect on the presidential race, whether or not he is the Republican nominee.
Watch Trump’s election night press conference, during which he proclaimed, "I am a unifier" and signaled he does indeed intend to moderate if he makes it to the general election.
In a round of television interviews Tuesday night, Rubio pounded Trump repeatedly as a "con artist." Cruz painted the frontrunner as a liberal.
Seema Mehta has the details of a new super PAC that intends to hold nothing back in going after Trump in the races to come.
(By the way, this probably wasn’t the way Chris Christie envisioned he’d be making headlines on Super Tuesday.)
We followed that and every moment last night so you didn’t have to. See the speeches and more.
Our team will continue to track the aftermath on Trail Guide.
CLINTON TAKES A WIDE LEAD
Clinton is well on the way toward unifying her party, Cathleen Decker writes in her analysis of how Super Tuesday shifted the race. The former secretary of State has regained a firm hand after scares in Iowa and New Hampshire and effectively blunted the internal Democratic war driven by its voters' move to the left during President Barack Obama’s tenure. Her success is driven by the increasing diversity of her party, which allowed Latinos to push her to victory in Texas and black voters to buttress her across the South.
Clinton defeated Sanders by margins of between 29% and 59% in Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas. Her narrowest win was in Massachusetts — 50.4% to 48.5%.
Sanders captured his home state of Vermont with 86.1% of the vote and earned victories in Colorado, Oklahoma and in the Minnesota caucuses.
The results in Oklahoma show what a difference eight years makes. Sanders bested Clinton 51.9% to 41.5%. But in 2008, Clinton resoundingly defeated then-Sen. Obama in a higher turnout contest. Obama won the area around Oklahoma City and nothing else. Tuesday, Clinton won that same region and one other county, earning roughly 140,000 votes. (She won more than 228,000 votes in 2008.)
Overall, Clinton had more than 1,000 delegates late Tuesday night, compared with 371 for Sanders.
EXAMINING THE FINANCES OF STATE LEADERS
Brown last year accepted $22,000 in gifts, including dinners and travel expenses, most of it covering his costs to attend the climate change summit in Paris. And Newsom disclosed investments of more than $1 million in both Napa Valley winery businesses Airelle Wines and Villa Encinal Partners.
WHAT IT MEANS THAT CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS VOTED FOR A TAX INCREASE
Brown signed the long-debated new tax on health insurance plans on Tuesday, and it’s a proposal that marked a rare moment in the state Capitol: Republicans voting for a new tax. As Sacramento bureau chief John Myers writes, the politics of taxes for GOP lawmakers remains tricky, as no issue hits harder when it comes to the party’s base voters.
— Southern California’s air quality board is moving to replace its top executive a month after Republicans gained a majority on the panel with new appointees who have vowed to make pollution regulations less burdensome for businesses.
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